tv BBC World News America PBS December 3, 2014 2:30pm-3:01pm PST
support cultures and support all across the zobe because success takes partnership and only through disdiscipline and trust can can we create something greater than ourselves, musg, we build relationships that build the world. >> and now bbc's "world news merica." >> this is bbc's "world news america" reporting from washington. i'm kathy kay. a new york grand jury clears a white police officer in the death of aun armed black man just days after the violation in ferguson, missouri. iran is not among nations meeting to discuss islamic state but it may be a key player in this fight, which puts washington and tehran on the same page. >> if iran is taking on isil in some particular case and confined on taking on isil and has an impact, it will be -- net effect is positive. >> keeping kids safe on the
pitch. should headers be banned before a certain age? we speak to former professional who makes that case. welcome to our viewers on public it television in america and around the zobe. a new york grand jury decided not to charge a white police officer who killed an unarmed black man with a choke hold, saying there was no reasonable cause for indictment. 43-year-old eric garner died in july on staten island. the decision comes just days after a grand jury in missouri decided not to indict the officer who killed michael brown, sparking protests right across the country. from new york, nick bryant has this report. >> widespread outrage after this video of the incident was posted online. filmed in broad daylight it
clearly shows white police officer holding unarmed black man in a head lock. eric gardner, suffering from asthma, can be heard gasping -- i can't breathe. i can't breathe. >> the 43-year-old allegedly apprehended for allegedly selling cigarettes later died in hospital. the coroner said his death a homicide. protesters took to the streets, a grand jury was asked to consider whether to indict the police officer who held him in a head lock but decided against bringing any criminal charges. the gardner family law said he was astonished what happened on the streets of staten island. >> that was homicide, cold-blooded murder. the whole world knows it. >> you have to be kidding me! not going to indict him! >> in the last few moments this reaction from america's first black president. >> this is an issue we have been dealing with too long and it's time to make more progress than we made.
i'm not interested in talk. i'm interested in action. i'm absolutely committed as president of the united states to making sure that we have a country in which everybody believes in the core principle we're equal under the law. >> back up right now. back up. >> coming the week after riots in ferguson, missouri -- this controversial decision is likely to heighten rashe tensions still further. and raises a nagging question civil rights legislation has never managed to resolve. does the criminal justice system here unfairly discriminate against black americans? nick bryant, bbc news, new york. >> for more on this and the wider picture race relations at the moment in america, i'm joined by the competent who recently return -- corespondent who recently returned from missouri. when you look at the video and hear him saying i can't breathe,
the case seems clear. what did the grand jury decide not to indict the police officer snon >> they decided no malicious intent even though we heard the coroner say it was homicide. and that is why so many people as we saw in the report do not trust the system. they feel when you have a system where only the prosecutor presents evidence, when there's no chance for other witnesses to be heard, when there's no chance for defense to be heard or other evidence to be presented, then this -- the odds are stacked against them when the suspect as in this case and in the case in ferguson was police officer, prosecutors are seen as being close to the law enforcement is agencies. and that's why when you look at the research that's been done over the last few weeks and months and look at how things are broken down by race in america, but white americans feel they do trust the system. black americans -- >> grand jury system. >> grand jury system. which decides all of this behind closed doors and this is a
asking as to wlopt the person involved here geents charged. this is not a trial to decide whether or not he's guilty. but black americans don't trust that stum and that would only have been worsened, of course, in the last ten days or so. >> you come back from ferguson. you were there last august as well. what do you expect reaction to this grand jury ruling in new york to be? >> it is interesting that this happened in ferguson. it's stull a question a lot of people are asking, why was it ferguson that created this kind of reaction when we have seen these cases so often in the past. we did see some protests in july hen eric gardner died. we have seen protests in new york in grand central station, die-in, people fainting death. there's also peaceful protest in times square. i think now it's certainly in people's consciousness that this is an issue not just this case
for ferguson case, this is an issue as a whole of perception of the legal process that needs to be dealt with. >> thank you very much for coming in. is iran launching air strikes against islamic state inside iraq? if so, is it in fact on the same side as america in this struggle? those are the questions dominating a meeting in brussels where 62 is nations today discussed the threat of i.s. amid-reports of iranian air attacks. u.s. secretary of state john kerry said iranian military action would be positive but he rejected any is suggestion of coordination. bbc's jonathan marcus has this coverage. >> iranian air force entered battle of so-called islamic state in iraq. grain yimen show what's experts believe is a phantom jet cash carrying out a bobbing run against islamic state targets in the eastern part of the country where the border of iran.
something in which the pentagon in washington appeared to confirm. >> nothing that would dispute the report that's they flew air strikes over eastern iraq. i have seen nothing that contradicts that. i can't say it didn't happen. i'm not in the business of confirming operations of foreign militaries. they need to do that. >> as kurdish and iraqi forces battle i.s. fighters, so iran, close ally of the baghdad government, is clearly stepping up its involvement. it means despite many differences, washington and tehran find themselves on the same side in the skies over iraq. however, iran is not here in brussels, with the largest ministerial meeting level so far with the country's allied against i.s. the u.s. secretary of state john kerry made it clear that this would have to be a coalition for the long haul. >> one outcome of this meeting would be statement that encampuses our message -- that we are united and moving ahead
on all fronts and that we will engage in this campaign for as long as it takes to prevail. >> the u.s. secretary of state was eager to stress the breath and diversity against the coalition range of the united states but the size of that coalition means there are inevitable differences, not least between the united states and turkey over the priority that should be given over removal of the assad regime in syria. however, syria's president assad in an interview with the french magazine disputes the effectiveness of the air strikes. >> you can't end terrorism with aerial strikes. troops on the ground that know the land and can react are essential. that is why there have not been tangible results in the through months of strikes led by the coalition. >> he's right, secretary kerry or president assad? in a sense both men have a point. air strikes have been effective halting advance of islamic state fighters in some areas but only successful in pushing them back when working with forces on the
ground. be the it resurgeant iraqi army, iraqi kurdish or syrian kurds in the town of kobane. all the while the human cost of the struggle is only growing. much of the kurdish town of kobane's been reduced to rubble and countless lives destroyed. the campaign against i.s. may be a long one but many wonder what will actually be left in this scarred region even if this battle can be won. jonathan marcus, bbc news, brussels. >> pretty blown-up there. to more on the battle of the islamic state, i spoke a short time ago to former nato ambassador nicholas burns who joined us from boston. nick burns this, fight against islamic state, whichever way you look and whatever the evidence or not of iran's involvement is producing strange bed fellows, sent it? >> it certainly is. i think this is an important
meeting today. in addition to the air strikes that the united states and allies have been conducting, there has to be a political coalition that's willing to isolate isis and try to interdict finances and try to discourage young men and women from joining its ranks but you're right, producing strangest possible partners. here you have two countries that have not talked to each other much, u.s. and iran on the same side of the struggle thrk particular struggle. i thought secretary kerry said the right thing today f. iran will act in some respects to weaken isis, that is in essence positive for the overall effort the united states is leading. >> right. but america is, president obama is, has is also said president assad has to go and iran is bank rolling president assad. >> and that is the fundamental weakness of the policy and biggest challenge that we face. i think, kati, the president assembled a very rational and potentially effective policy in
iraq. air campaign to contain isis, keep it away from iraqi kurdistan and mosul and ha deja dams. but we don't have similarly effective and clear policy on syria. as you say russia, iran, hezbollah are protecting assad government and it's clear assad is major part of the problem. there are 11 million refugees and displaced people in syria because of bashar al assad. the administration needs to work hard to create a syria poll sthay -- policy that will be consistent with what it's trying to do in iraq. it's a combined battle space. isis is in both places. >> what could that somebody is there coherent, long-term political strategy for syria that can work, defeat isis and also look at assad? >> i think you have to look first at this refugee is situation. it's becoming catastrophic. half of the country, 11 million people, have lost their onlies
and, of course, as you know more than a million ref refugees in jordan and more than a million lebanon, the administration and allies in europe and world will have to consider humanitarian corridors into syria, placed at quarters protected by armed force to get food and medical aid into places where where refugees are besieged. it's urgeant, moral imperative and those numbers likely to increase if we don't do anything. that has to be step number one. step two, eventually we have to sit down. i believe -- this is willing swallowing hard -- with assad, with the iranians, with the russians to try to form some kind of political agreement that would in essence lead forward to some departure of power t will be extraordinarily difficult tpwhaut campaign will come. >> nicholas burns, thank you very much. of course, as winter approaches that need to do something for the refugees gets ever more urgeant.
quick look at a couple stories from around the world. sierra leon said it only has a third of the ebola treatment centers it needs to help overcome the virus. the president seas they need to double the number of laboratories used to test disease. the number of new cases continues to rise in the president of the country. large crowds in germany have been paying their final respects to a woman fatally injured while confronting a group of men harassing two girls. the turkish woman died friday after being hit on the head and left in a coma outside a restaurant near frankfurt. the white house today called on cuba to release an american contractor, alan gross, five years to the day after he was imprisoned there. gross sentenced to 15 years for setting up illegal internet action but his family said he would commit suicide if he's not leased by his birthday next may. from the ha ha vanna, barbara usher has this report. >> americans are coming to cuba one way or another. not tourists but students with
special permission to dock in havana despite the u.s. economic embargo. there's been a steady growth in culture and academic exchanges under the obama administration. now there are calls for more fundamental change. >> i think it's time that we put the pass aside and let by-gones be bigones and remove economic sanctions to have a more open relationship between two countries. >> in this jen isration, cold war hostilities triggered by cuba's socialist revolution no longer seem relevant but more than 50 years of bad blood will not be resolved easily. president obama has gone almost as far as he can under the limits of the embargo to permit travel to cuba but he has not taken steps to change u.s. policy. one of the things holding up further movement is controversial case of an american prisoner. alan gross, shown here on trip to jerusalem, was arrested in cuba exactly five years ago while working as subcontractor for the american government. he was sentenced to 15 years in
jail for building internet access for locals that bypassed official censorship. the cuban authorities saw that as sub verive. during the trial his wife appealed for relief on humanitarian grounds. more recently mr. gross suggested he kill himself if he wasn't set free soon. but havana has long demanded the release of convicted cuban spies held in the u.s. for more than 16 years. translator: this would be the most important gesture the u.s. could make to start normalizing relations and it's in the capacity of president obama to take this decision. if alan gray is in cuba, it's because obama has not taken the necessary step to give all three comrades a back. if he did, gross would immediately return to america. >> a prisoner exchange might signal that interm politics in both countries are making it easier to move towards resumption of diplomatic
relations. whatever the case, many observers argue current conditions offer the best chance in decades for end to half century of conflict. bbc news, havana. >> you're watching bbc's "world news america." still to come -- a series on head injuries in sport continues. we take to the pitch where using your head could have major consequences. robert be mcgovernory ruleded zimbabwe for over three decades. there's speculation the 90-year-old is preparing for his wife to take over after him. she's come a long way from presidential secretary 18 years ago to first lady of zimbabwe. always seen at her husband's side. now a serious contender for the residency.
no, i'm going to say anything, please. >> her marriage opened doors for her. she's now dr. grace. her controversial ph.d. awarded by her husband three months ago and also leader of a women's league. the nationwide series of rallies saw her launch a bitter attack on her rival the vice president mcdrew, whose political future now appears to be in ruins. >> let talk about grace mcgauby. we have seen her exploding into the political scene, becoming major political player. are you supporting her in that role? >> we are supporting her 120%. >> why? -- shef nominated -- >> the big sque who will succeed the president? the zick babwayen congress will decide who front-runners will
be. concerns have been raised about her name being put forward. there are mixed feelings because of that on the streets. zimbabwe may have been out of the international headlines for a while. but it's still in a precarious state. the economy is back in trouble. and it looks like robert mew garvey may be trying to ensure his successor is part of the family. >> now to the time report in head injuries in sports. we look at the dangers concussions pose in american football and ice hockey. what about headers on the other football pitch? there's mounting evidence to suggest repeated blows can cause brain trauma and in some headers should be banned before a certain age. bbc's alex south reports. >> our body's most vital commodity put at risk every time
professional sportsmen take to the field. here at boston university's research center, pathologists are trying to better understand how trauma to the head in sports affects our brains. majority of brain that's have been brought here have been donated by athletes from traa is additional north american sports like ice hockey, american football, and boxing but the pathologists are now seeing a lot of brains donated by former football players and rugby players and initial findings are certainly startling. most of the concern is with the heading of the ball. one of the world's leading euro pathologists said players' brains show changes even in the absence of concussion after just a year of playing at amateur level. c.t.u., neuro degenerative disease in soccer players. young players 29 when he died. recently i straffled to brazil and had the opportunity to look at baleeny's brain, beloved
soccer player in brazil, he died with severe dementia. he had years of failing health. he had severe c.t.e. at autopsy. >> c.t.e. is a brain syndrome caused by repeated blows to the head. it can wreck its victim's control of emotions, cause memory loss, depression and eventually lead to dementia. football is the world's most popular sport. children start playing as soon as they can walk. but would you let your child play if you knew it could cause major health problems in the future? >> i think we need to look at heading in soccer. i think we especially need to look at heading in soccer for young ages. where before the brain is fully developed, before the neck and musculature is mature, i think these kids are at risk. >> chris nowitzki learned about concussions the hard way. the former college athlete and professional wrestler had to
retire at 24. he lingering damage from the hits he took more than a decade ago. he now campaigns to make sports safer. >> i liken it to cigarettes. how dangerous is one cigarette? it's not. one header is not dangerous. however, lifetime of thousands of headers is dangerous. the more exposure you have to this risk factor, the worse off you are. >> there is currently a lawsuit pending in america from a group of mothers who want the world governing body fifa to take heading out of the youth game. if successful, football can become a much more litter term. alex south, bbc news, boston. >> football is, not head ball. among those advocating a nation of headers players under 14 is a two-time olympic gold medalist and she joins me from north carolina. cindy, what's been your own experience that's made you so convinced that headers in football are dangerous?
>> obviously from my personal experience playing soccer as football as you call it, i have had several concussions, most of them have been from heading the ball but not actually the impact of the ball. more so of getting headed while i'm heading ball or goalkeeper punching my head heading the ball or elbow or arm. and this type. for the youth, i think if we can take out heading in soccer or football, at the age of 14 and below, i think we will be doing a great service to the game because we can reduce concussions by approximately 30 and 35%. >> you retired it from soccer what, 10 years ago, i think i'm right. do you still feel impact of concussions do you think? >> yeah. i suffered from postconcussion syndrome. i have symptoms pretty much every single day of my life. >> we talk about american football as being really dangerous sport. is there now evidence you had it
yourself and see it but is there research in evidence in data to suggest that headers can be dangerous too? >> there is research to suggest this. but that's one of the problems we're having now. is that there hasn't been skenive amount of research and we need to do more research. and for people out there that are listening, fund research, let me know if you're interested in funding research on concussions. i can put you in contact with the right people. but we need more concussion research and especially longitude nall studies and actually figuring out what level of impact to the head especially in youth is problematic. >> do you have a sense tage, at what age is it fine for kids to start heading a ball? >> the research hasn't found that out yet. we do know obviously younger ages the brain is still growing and developing and connecting the neurons to disrupt that is problematic. at age 15, 16 strks all of a sudden ok to head and you can't cause damage? don't think that's true. i would say for adults.
but we have to go with information that we have now and there's pretty good evidence to make us believe that heading before the age of 14 could potentially be dangerous. >> we know hockey, ice cocky, lacrosse, american football have changed some of the rules. why do you think soccer lagged behind? >> i think one of the main reasons is that the research isn't there. people want to see the facts and scientific evidence before they change the rules. and that's the problem. what with the research lagging behind, president are hesitant to change rules. i think as more and more people come forward you hear from more kids and parents suffering because their kids are suffering from concussion issues, i think there will be aing about push to not only soccer and in other sports to continue to change the game to make it saferer for kids. >> cindy, thank you very much for joining me. that brings the program to a close and end of our series there on concussions as well.
you can find out more about that on our website as well and find me on twitter. at katty kay at bbc. thank you very much for watching. do tune in again tomorrow. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding of this presentation the e possible by -- freeman foundation. newman's own foundation. giving all profits to charity and pursuing the good. kovler foundation. >> build a solid foundation and you can connect communities for centuries. that's the strength behind good
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: in another high profile case of a police officer killing an unarmed black man, no indictment for the new york city cop who killed eric garner in a choke hold. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this wednesday, the manufacturer of faulty airbags with deadly defects refuses government demands to expand recalls. >> woodruff: plus, do pregnant workers face unfair discrimination? the supreme court weighs whether employers must provide special considerations to expecting mothers. >> ifill: and nasa prepares to take the next step towards sending humans to mars.